Son of Skyrim Entry 4

  • Author's Note: This chapter contains strong language, you have been warned ;)

    10th of Hearthfire, 4E 202


    Hey, Ragnar, I’m Eltrys. I think we have a problem.” Eltrys murmured as he stepped out of the shadows. Ragnar raised his axe.


    “What do you mean by that?” Ragnar asked slowly. He stalked towards the Breton in a circular pattern. Eltrys followed suite, but still hadn’t drawn a weapon that he could see.


    “I think something is going on in this city. The Forsworn have taken credit for the attack on Margret. That was the woman in the street on Fredas. If they’ve gotten in the city, why risk it all on a no body like Margret?” Eltrys rambled. Ragnar just stared at him. “Listen, you don’t have to believe me, but I knew Weylin…the…the guy that you killed. There’s no way he was Forsworn.”


    “How’d you know him?” Ragnar raised an eyebrow. Eltrys was pacing now, as Ragnar slipped the axe back into his belt.


    “Well…you might not realize this. You being an apprentice and all. But there is a whole civilization that is separate from the rest of the people here in Markarth. It’s filled with those of us Markarth has thrown by the way-side. We live in the Warrens; a place that is barely cleaner than the Hall of the Dead. Weylin used to be the apprentice to Calcelmo, but he developed a skooma addiction that destroyed his life. He had a divorce, his ex-wife moved her and his son back to Daggerfall. It was a messed up situation. I can’t believe that he would fall in with the Forsworn though.” Eltrys said scratching at his eyebrow. “He always was talking about getting enough money to go back to Daggerfall. I don’t know…”


    “Why are you telling me all of this?” Ragnar asked. “What’s the point?”


    “I…I just want you to know that Weylin wasn’t all bad. He just…I don’t know. I need your help to find out what happened exactly. I want to warn you though. I don’t know how deep this goes.” Eltrys slid down one of the nearby pillars as he laid his head in his hands. “I just need some help.”


    Ragnar paused for a moment before approaching the Breton. He grabbed Eltrys by the arm and pulled him to his feet.


    “Where should I start?” Ragnar asked. His eyes narrowing.


    “You should talk to Margret. She’s staying at the Silver-Blood Inn. We need to find out why someone would want her dead.” Eltrys said, smiling for the first time since Ragnar had met him. “Then we can find out more about Weylin.”


    Ragnar nodded. The plan might just work. If nothing else it would calm Eltrys down. He didn’t know why, but Ragnar had never been able to turn away from someone who needed help. His sister had once accused him of having a savior complex, but he didn’t really care for attention nor the satisfaction of seeing people asking him for help. He just needed to help them. All of them. Skyrim needed him. In a small way, sure, but it needed him none the less. Back to the task at hand.


    “Alright, listen. I’ll head over to the tavern to see if I can get any information out of her. Then I’ll head over to the Warrens. You stay here. Just one question. Where’s the Warrens?” Ragnar asked. Eltrys quickly told him how and where to get in.


    “If anyone tries to stop you, say that I sent you and say ‘The poor must drink the blood from the rich man’s table’. They’ll know what it means.”


    “Malacath’s sweaty undercarriage.” Ragnar recoiled. Eltrys chuckled. “What?”


    “You talk like a Nord, but you swear like an Orc. It’s rather amusing.”


    Ragnar rolled his eyes and walked out. He booked it for the tavern, brushing past the drunken off-duty guards who were polluting the streets.


    He pushed the door open and sat at the bar for a second.


    “You going to order a drink or just stare around like a numb-nut?” Kleppr asked, raising an eyebrow.


    “I’ll just have water. Do you know where the girl that was attacked on Fredas is?” Ragnar asked, taking a sip from the freshly ordered mountain spring water.


    “Yeah, she’s over by the fireplace, wh-?” Kleppr didn’t get to finish his sentence. Ragnar was already walking over to the fire.


    A young Imperial woman sat reading a book as if she hadn’t almost died a few days ago.


    “Hey, Margret right?” Ragnar asked as he slipped into the chair next to her.


    “Yeah!” She glanced up from her book and immediately recognized him. “Thank you so much for before. I mean…You’re a complete stranger and you risked your life for mine. Thank you.”


    “Oh, no problem, believe me. This might be a weird question, but what’s a stranger like you doing in Markarth?” Ragnar asked nonchalantly. The reaction on the woman’s face almost immediate. Where once she was soft and friendly, now she was tight and rigid.


    “I came to Markarth to buy my sister some jewelry back in Cyrodiil. I also wanted to see the sights.” Her voice wasn’t even believable. Half-heartedly she waved around as if to indicate the “sights”.


    “Wow…You don’t lie for a living, do you? ‘Cause you’re going to be out of a job soon.” Ragnar blinked.


    “Dammit. Was it really that obvious? Must be losing my touch. Listen, I was actually sent here by General Tulius. Even if the Empire has withdrawn from Skyrim. It is still in our best interests not to let the Silver-Bloods get too rich. If they overthrow the Black-Briars, well…We’d have a mess on our hands. Believe me, if anyone was behind the attack it was Thonar Silver-Blood” Margret spoke as if she would die if she didn’t get the next word out.


    Thonar was the Jarl’s older brother. Jarl Throngvar had been put into power when Ulfric Stormcloak and Kynar Stormblade had conquered Markarth during the Civil War. Out of all the Jarls chosen by Ulfric to lead the holds, Throngvar was by far the most popular. Excluding Stormblade himself of course. If Thonar was behind the attacks, it would be hard to bring him to justice.


    “Gods, you’re a talkative one, aren’t you? Also, you may want to quiet down when talking about supporting the Empire. It’s not too popular in Skyrim, nowadays. You know with Ulfric being High King and everything.” Ragnar whispered. With each word Margret got more and more red. She nodded hastily before rising to her feet.


    “I just remembered. I’m going to be leaving early in the morning tomorrow. I should be in bed.” Margret laughed the most forced laugh Ragnar had ever heard. Cringing, Ragnar just nodded. Margret disappeared into a nearby room. He just stared after her.


    “You’ve got to be kidding me. Freaking Thonar Silver-Blood?” Ragnar growled as he stood. Kleppr was arguing with his wife again, as Ragnar stormed out of the room.  As he opened the door a hand grabbed his shoulder.


    “You’re stirring up trouble…If you know what’s good for you, you’ll stop.” Ragnar turned to see the guard that had drank with him a while back. “You don’t want to know what happens in Markarth when people go snooping about where their noses don’t belong.”


    “First of all, what is this a monologue? Second, what happens? Huh, tell me.” Ragnar quipped back.


    “Smart-ass.” The guard snarled. “Just keep in mind, we warned you.”


    Apparently, he was done, because the guard spun on his heel and marched back to the bar. Ragnar rolled his eyes and walked out into the night. Quickly, he made his way to the Treasury House, which doubled as Thonar’s home.


    This is so stupid. You can’t just go up to the richest person in the second richest city and ask if they planned someone’s assassination. He stood outside the door for about fifteen minutes before he got the guts to pound on the brass door. A woman opened the door. Ragnar instantly recognized her as Thonar’s wife, Betrid.


    “Hey, may I see Thonar?” Ragnar said scratching at the base of his neck.


    “Not dressed like you’re about to go into combat.” Betrid raising her eyebrow at the armor that Ragnar wore as well as the axe on his hip.


    “I’m an adventurer and I’d like to make a massive investment on Cidna Mine. In order to have silver for my craft. You see I’m training to be the best silversmith this side of the Jerrall Mountains.” Ragnar said putting on a confident exterior. Betrid smiled, before leaning against the door-frame with her arm stretched up the post.


    “Exactly, how big of an investment?” She said sultrily. Her voice had taken on a husky tone. Ragnar felt really uncomfortable, but he decided he had to continue.


    “Well,” He said leaning against the same post and smirking. “I believe that’s between your husband and I. But I can guarantee it will be a very prosperous partnership.”


    Betrid feigned a laugh before swinging the door wide and letting Ragnar in. Ragnar walked past. Two Bretons were sitting in front of a fire. One had a scroll and was writing furiously, the other was cleaning.


    “His office is this way.” Betrid said as she walked to the left. Ragnar followed, putting some distance between Betrid and himself. She looked like she wanted something from him, and Ragnar wasn’t interested in gold-diggers.


    “Who in Oblivion is this, Betrid? I said I wasn’t accepting visitors!” Thonar yelled, a filled glass in his left hand.


    “I know you tried to have the spy killed.” Ragnar blurted out, watching his expression. The glass shattered in Thonar’s fist.


    “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.” Thonar growled.


    “We do.” The trio spun around to see the two Bretons holding swords.


    Ragnar’s axe spun out of its sheathe as Ragnar flung himself at the first Breton. The man wasn’t expecting it and went down quick. Ragnar ripped a dagger off his belt with his off-hand and ripped open the Breton’s abdomen before spinning to see the other drive her sword in Betrid’s throat. Thonar grabbed a silver mace off his nearby desk and slammed it into the last combatant’s face. She crumpled dead.


    “Gods dammit! This is all your fault.” Thonar said, storming up to Ragnar. Ragnar raised his axe, stopping the raging man cold.


    “Tell me what you know.”


    “What I know? What I know?!? I know that the Forsworn just killed my wife. I know that Madonach is my bitch! I know that the noose around Madonach’s throat just got tighter! And I know you’re going to get the FUCK OUT OF HERE!” Thonar roared. Ragnar opened his mouth and then closed it again, before heading out into the night.


    He stepped out and sprinted across the sleeping city. He sprinted past two guards who just stared at him as he passed. Ragnar dodged into an alleyway, before slowing. He glanced down at himself to see blood smeared across his armor. He groaned as he continued to head towards where he presumed the Warrens would be located. He was correct.


    He entered the Warrens carefully and immediately realized how dire the situation was. About thirty people, women, men, and children alike were packed into the main hall. He stood at the entrance looking rather stupid as his abrupt entrance brought several eyes to him. He calmed himself before walking up to the closest man. The man was dividing a bowl of stew into two smaller bowls before giving them to two Orc children that sat cross-legged on the stone floors.


    Ragnar’s heart ached at the sight of the immense poverty and the sheer difference in wealth between this place and the home he had been in not moments before. The man turned to him and his face turned up into a sneer.


    “What’s wrong, traveler? Never seen the Warrens, before?” He growled. A few men began standing up and started circling about them. “You should leave before we lose our sanity.”


    “Eltrys sent me.” Ragnar said boldly. “He gave me a passcode…uhh… The poor must drink the blood from the rich man’s table. Gods, that’s disgusting.”


    “It’s true though.” One of the men said, striding past the rest. The man was clearly a Breton, but he had long red hair. He extended a hand. “The name’s Garvey. What’s this about?”


    “Uh, hi, Garvey. It’s about Weylin. Eltrys is looking for clues as to why what happened on Fredas, happened.” Ragnar said scratching the base of his neck. Apparently, this was a nervous tick of his. He really needed to stop it.


    “Ah, ok. Well, come this way.” Garvey said, motioning for Ragnar to follow him. The crowd of people parted in front of Garvey and formed two lines of people on either side of them. As Ragnar passed through them, however, they closed in tight behind him. Garvey led Ragnar to a bedroll in the far corner of the low-ceilinged hallway. A small knapsack sat next to it. Ragnar instantly sunk to his knees and opened it. A small dagger poked at the back of his neck.


    “What do you think you’re doing?” A small Nord girl hissed at Ragnar. “That’s Weylin’s stuff, leave it alone. Stealing from the poor is punishable by death.”


    “Listen, I’m just trying to help Eltrys find out what happened.” Ragnar pleaded. The girl stared at him coldly before sliding the iron dagger back into its sheathe. Ragnar noticed a familiar mark on the hilt. “You know, I made that blade. From a single ingot, before I was even able to make a mace.”


    “I wasn’t caught. That means I deserve it.” The girl shifted uncomfortably as Garvey stared at her. “Besides, the rich schmuck had two silver ones that would work much better.”


    “You aren’t hearing a complaint from me. I was just trying to make a little conversation.” Ragnar said jokingly.


    “Get about your business and get out of here!” A Nord man growled at him. The girl disappeared back into the herd of people surrounding him.


    “Alright…” Ragnar said as he reached into the bag. He pulled out a single note. He flipped it open and read it aloud carefully.


    ‘Weylin, you have been chosen to strike fear at the hearts of the Nords. Make them pay for forcing you into addiction. For taking away Marie from you. –N’


    “So, he was in league with the Forsworn, huh?” Garvey murmured. “You should leave. Now.”


    Ragnar turned to see restlessness brewing in the crowd. Once again, he nodded quickly and bolted for the door. The crowd parted in front of him, all except a Breton boy. He drew a dagger from his boot and held it up at Ragnar. He froze. The boy was standing between him and the door. No way past, except through. But if he pushed through, would the rest attack.


    “Faolan, move.” Garvey sighed as he walked up to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ragnar. The boy shook his head, but stalked closer. Ragnar couldn’t describe it as anything less. Faolan lunged, but didn’t make it two steps before a blonde streak slid across the floor, taking out his legs. The girl held a dagger to Faolan’s throat and growled. The restlessness in the group stirred. “Gormlaith, no!”


    Gormlaith, huh? Ragnar had an ancestor by that name, back when the sir-name was Golden-hilt. Garvey grabbed Ragnar and shoved him past the wrestling children. No, the battling children. Gormlaith and Faolan had both been disarmed but continued to punch and kick and pull at the other, while the adults sat back and watched.


    Ragnar exited the building and slammed the door behind him.


    “Hey, you. You’ve been poking your nose where it doesn’t belong. I’m here to teach you a lesson.” Oh gods, not again.


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